Kintyre Way

5th to 12th July 2015

91 miles

Walk:

Day 1: Tarbert to Claonaig, via Tarbert Castle, Allt Beithe, Cruach Doire Leithe, Skipness Strath, Glenskible, Skipness Castle. 13.95 miles.

Day 2: Claonaig to Clacchan, via Claonaig Oakwood, Larachmor Burn, Lochan Fraoich, Lochan A Chreimh, Loch Ciaran, Allt Mor. 11.2 miles

Day 3; Clachan to Tayinloan: via Ronachan House, South Lodge, Standing stones and cist at Ballochroy, Rhunahaorine Point. 9 miles.

Day 4: Tayinloan to Carradale: via Kilmory, Deucheran Hill Wind Farm, Drochaid Burn, Carradale Water Glen, Brackley Cemetery, Cnoc Nan Gabhar(Deer Hill). 17.25 miles.

Day 5: Carradale to Gobagrennan Cattle Grid: via Dippen, Torrisdale Castle, Saddell, Lussa Loch, Corryloch. 15.18 miles.

Day 6: Gobagrennan to Campbelltown: via Skeroblin Cruach, Skeroblingarry, Calliniburn Cottage, Ballywilline. 6 miles.

Day 7: Macrahanish to Southend: via Innean Glen, Binnein Fithich, Largiebaan, Amod Hill, Gleann Breacirigh, Keil Point and Dunaverty. 18.2 miles.

Group: Pat, Christine and John (aka The Lancashire Cake to Cakers)
Start Point: Tarbert, Argyll. Scotland Distance: 91 miles
Time: 7 walking days (1 rest day spent cycling on Gigha)
Weather: Generally mild. 2 Heavy rain showers on Day 1. Very misty on Day 5 until we dropped down to Lussa Loch in the afternoon. Again foggy on the tops on Day 7.
Comments:

The distance of the walk in the guide book was 87 miles. However as now signposted the walk is 100 miles, ending in Macrahanish instead of Southend. One of the reasons for the route change was to remove walking along the busy road from Campbletown to Macrahanish which for most of its 6 miles has no pavement. The Way has also been diverted from Torrisdale Castle to Ifferdale, avoiding a stretch of road walking. (We took the original route in order to visit Saddell which has wonderful late medieval grave slabs, carved on Iona).
As a consequence of the above, The Kintyre Way guidebook written by Sandra Bardwell and Jaquetta Megarry needs to be revised, as does the OS Kintyre South Explorer Map (357).
Waymarking was excellent with distinctive blue posts regularly appearing. At relevant points they were topped with directional arrows. Paths were generally good. Although there was some walking over wet ground, the only muddy stretch was following Allt Mor down to Clachan.
The most arduous day was the last one with difficult conditions underfoot, fog and various steep ascents and descents.
The best views were across Kilbrannan Sound to Arran, across the Sound of Gigha to Gigha, Jura and Islay, and, on the last day, across to Rathlin Island, off the North Antrim coast of Northern Island.
Whilst we saw plenty of seabirds and buzzards, we had to wait to the last day to see deer and seals. The flora was better; plenty of foxgloves, bell heather, orchids, ragged robin, red campion, cow parsley. Dragonflies were in profusion and we saw a golden ringed dragonfly which features on the tiled mural at the start of the walk in Tarbert. Midges were not a major problem.
Historical remains were plentiful with castles at Tarbert, Skipness and Torrisdale, ruined chapels and graveyards at Kilbrannan, Brackley and Saddell. There were older remains with standing stones, cists and cup-marked rocks close to the route, most spectacularly at Ballochroy.

At the start we climbed to Tarbert Castle

The first of many Kintyre Way Waymarkers

As we dropped steeply to Skipness, we looked across Kilbrannan Sound to Arran

About to leave Claonaig on Day 2

This Golden-Ringed Dragonfly was on the path by Lochan Fraoich

The cist was alligned with three standing stones near Ballochroy

Another waymarker by the Sound of Gigha

Approaching Tayinloan, we crossed a beautiful sandy beach

Looking across to Gigha and Jura from Tayinloan

The Paps of Jura as seen from Camas Naireach on Gigha

Cycling on Gigha on our day off

Orchid in the machair near Tayinloan

Looking across to Arran from Deer Hill

Grave stone at Saddell Abbey

Lussa Loch

Two Friesians `at Corrylach on Lussa Loch

The weather was fine when we left Machrihanish . . .

but the fog descended

We still had views of the beautiful coastline around the Mull of Kintyre

We saw our first seals as we dropped to Keil Point

The finish at Dunaverty

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